hard heads soft hearts

a scratch pad for half-formed thoughts by a liberal political junkie who's nobody special. ''Hard Heads, Soft Hearts'' is the title of a book by Princeton economist Alan Blinder, and tends to be a favorite motto of neoliberals, especially liberal economists.

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Saturday, July 27, 2002
more preliminary rough notes:

political ramifications and possible general rhetorical approaches:

so far my little list seems to alienate the entire Democratic party donor base + grass-roots support: public sector unions ( greater accountabilty) private sector unions ( free trade, possible tax reform) trial lawyers ( tort reform, no fault auto insurance reform, loser pays) blacks (de -emphasis of affirmative action, possible civil rights law reform) feminists ( de emphasis of affirmative action, abortion) gun-control lobby; "Common cause" type McCain-Feingold goo-goos, anti- death penalty folk, etc.;

yuck. anyway, will cross that bridge when it comes.

possible general rhetorical approaches:

when I was eight I was an enthusiastic republican

by the time I was ten, however, democrat for life

prop 187 was the key. never forget the courage of the Democratic party, or the cowardice of the Republicans

learnt that the head has never beaten the gut in a political fight, and that political campaigns are not won by reason and evidence they are won by catchy sound-bites. to put it indelicately, by stroking the voters erogenous zones. some common zones: strong military, education, protecting Social Security, welfare cheat, illegal immigrant, soft on crime, greatest country in the world

however, I also learned that if the people make a big mistake, they almost always reverse it The system does not work efficiently, perfectly, or quickly, but the system does work. I learned to trust the people, not always in the short run, but almost always in the long run.

the core values of the democratic party: fairness, the conviction that everyone deserves a fair shake, an opportunity to make the most of their potential. An open mind, a willingness to hear new ideas and to seek progress instead of always sticking with the familiar. That’s why we’re called progressive. Democrats believe tomorrow can be better than today, and we have a responsibility to work towards that goal. Lastly and most importantly, to stick up for the people who need sticking up for, to fight the fights that need fighting, to choose the hard right over the easy wrong, to comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable. The golden rule is one of the central values of every great religious tradition, the source of compassion, And compassion and empathy, above all, are the defining values of the Democratic Party. It can all be summed up in six words: middle class, common sense, golden rule. These are the core values of the Democratic party, and these are my core values, and that is why I expect to be a Democrat for as long as I live.

the real Clinton legacy: has never in thought or word or deed said "I am an American, and you are not" largely a negative one, beat back the conservative tidal wave; a good Clinton project: set up a school in Arkansas which does a first rate job of educating poor whites and blacks. He could name it after his mother: the Virginia Clinton (or Kelley) school of Arkansas;

more money for teacher's salaries. 20% increase for education in exchange for vouchers/school choice. if you're willing to work, a middle class society a common sense society; a middle class society: a society where if you work hard and play by the rules you can become a member of the broad middle class education, health insurance a decent home or apartment in a safe part of town with places for kids to play. Krugman parable of fishermen and gold prospectors
bringing backcommon sense, we've really got to reform our legal system.
de-meme-ing society; clean smart tough and kind; a middle class government; a common sense government, a government with American values: optimism; work ethic and the golden rule;

work ethic, accountability and principled competition are vital ingredients to the American character but they are not all it means to be American. it that were all America was about, then we would be the most powerful nation on the face of the earth, but not the greatest nation on the face of this earth. If that were all, we would be the most respected nation in the world, but not the most admired nation in the world.

earth is not heaven and down here the lion does not lie down with the lamb. but for civilized life to survive, and for a person to reach their full spiritual potential, these harsher virtues must be leavened with the softer ones. the pacifists who are full of resentments who criticize one side exclusively are not worth emulating. but the pacifists who have made the principled decision to return hate with love, I am not one of them, but I honor them. Gandhi, Martin Luther King, the Quakers, the Amish, In any civilized society such people must be protected and respected.

toughness is the price of survival in a world that is not always benign. toughness, competition are what makes surviving possible, compassion, charity, friendship service to others are what give our life meaning, and what make it worth living.

not just because they are strong, and daring and effective
in other countries, citizens respect their military, but they also fear them, for there is always the possibility of a military coup. In this country, duty honor country the trust in our military is so strong, we don't have to fear them, so as a result we can give them our unreserved admiration and gratitude.

middle class, common sense, american, and/or golden rule;